<Chapter 13. Arema Steelworker – 1>
[Resistance, impossible. Requesting reinforcements… Code unrecognizable. Reporting to command… failed.]
[Reporting to code name A.S.]
The Bronze Golems spoke similarly to the Stone Golems, yet said something different after Lee Shin Woo had broken all but the last two into pieces of bronze.
[No answer. Retrying…]
[Reporting to code name A.S. again. …No signal.]
“Wait a sec. A.S.? The code name is a service center?”
Lee Shin Woo vacantly listened to the golems, and right as he was about to ready his finishing blow, he heard their strange remarks and stopped his axe. Jin then spoke.
“They said they had no signal, right?”
“It’s not like they had no signal, but that they’ve been all killed, right?”
It seems like the two’s opinions were in accord. The Bronze Golems, having no signal, froze in place as if they were damaged, but he didn’t have the time to worry about them anymore.
“Let’s collect the loot first.”
Lee Shin Woo swung his axe and cleanly broke the golems into pieces. The golems dispersed into several particles of mana and returned to nature. He collected the dropped Perium and Bone Core at the center of where they were, and suddenly surveyed his surroundings. Naturally, he wasn’t able to find anything.
But this came out of his vacant mouth.
“The connection hadn’t been completely cut.”
At first, the golems had requested for reinforcements, then next attempted to report to command. After that, when none of those had worked, they reported to a figure with the code name A.S. He hypothesized that this A.S. figure was either the one in charge of the golems, or their maker.
Until now, he hadn’t gotten any answers from their reports, but he’d finally seen a meaningful response. Though they had received a cold reception and gotten no signal, there was definitely a response given after receiving the report.
“But doesn’t the fact that they got no signal mean that the person doesn’t care, even if we assume that there was someone there to receive their report?”
“Well yeah, because he should be undead.”
While there were golems which were born when minerals were naturally saturated with mana, these golems were clearly artificial. This meant that there was a figure who created these golems and managed them, whether it be the Empire or another individual. Then that figure should obviously be undead by now. And that would explain why the golems ended up being neglected…
“I don’t know how the golem’s reporting system works, but if their owner truly is undead, would they really be able to respond this quickly?”
“Not all of the undead are stupid. If we exclude a high leveled undead’s hatred for the living, their intelligence isn’t much different from a living person’s.”
“Seems that way… But if they’re that smart, wouldn’t they have called these golems and used them?”
At that point, they were left in the dark. Lee Shin Woo and Jin stopped acting like Sherlock Holmes, when it didn’t even fit them, and decided to continue doing what they had planned to do. That was to try reinforcing a Bone Core.
“Alright. I’ve chosen this one.”
Lee Shin Woo chose the Bone Core that belonged to the final Bronze Golem, and placed its ‘Reinforced Autonomous Defense Type Bone Core’ onto the floor. Seeing that, Jin asked.
“You’re not actually going to use all the other Bone Cores on that one, are you?”
“Yeah, I am. There’s not enough information in the Stone Golems’ cores, and they’ve been severely damaged so there’s barely any value to them. Sacrificing them is a much better option.”
It was something he’d roughly been able to figure out as he examined his own mana, and absorbed the cores through Bone Reinforcement. Though it wasn’t possible to understand how the core’s activation mechanism worked indirectly, he was able to figure out a way to approach this directly. Honestly, that was amazing enough.
“The Bronze Golems’ cores are in better condition, but if I were to absorb them one by one, it would take a long time to add up all the information together.”
“If you use reinforcement, will you be able to restore the damaged information?”
“In my opinion… yeah. I guess there’s only one way to find out.”
If he was able to restore the information within the Reinforced Autonomous Defense Type Core through reinforcement, he wouldn’t need a lot of them, and he would be able to figure out the secret that these golems held; if he was lucky, he might even be able to figure out the secret behind the code name A.S. too with this one core. At least, that’s what Lee Shin Woo thought.
“Then… Bone Reinforcement.”
Lee Shin Woo executed Bone Reinforcement and used one Bone Core to reinforce the other. Though their levels were different, his skill activated without any problems. It was all fine and dandy until the activation, but…
[Bone Reinforcement has failed.]
“I have a bad feeling about this.”
“No, we can do it. Don’t believe in yourself. Believe in me who believes in you .”
He didn’t know if it was because Jin trusted in Lee Shin Woo, who in turn, trusted in him, but the next attempt succeeded. They rejoiced, but Lee Shin Woo soon assumed a serious expression upon examining the information.
[Reinforced Autonomous Defense Type Core]
[Original Core synchronization rate: 13.2%]
“I haven’t seen that before.”
Lee Shin Woo expected for there to be a +1 behind the Bone Core, but he was wrong. Instead, it indicated a synchronization rate with the original core, something that seemed slightly large-scale. It’s likely that if the reinforcement was successful, this value would increase. That’s when Jin asked the key question.
“What about the amount of information?”
“Hmm… It’s been restored.”
It was only a small amount, but a portion of the damaged area was indeed recognizable again.
If he were to say how much, it was like when he was confused about the difference between two homonyms in a sentence before, and now he was sure which was which as it was such a strange difference between them . In any case, what’s important was that he was able to restore some of the information.
Maybe the original core would appear if he completely restored the core?
‘Though I don’t really need to know what the original core is…’
At the very least, he was sure that he was going in the right direction. In order to more thoroughly investigate the change in the synchronization rate, Lee Shin Woo gripped the Bone Core and continuously used Bone Reinforcement. A blinding light arose.
[Bone Reinforcement has failed.]
[Bone Reinforcement has failed.]
[Bone Reinforcement has succeeded.]
[Original Core synchronization rate: 13.4%]
One successful reinforcement resulted in a 0.2% increase? He had 310 more Autonomous Defense Type Bone Cores, and a bit more than 100 Reinforced Autonomous Defense Type Bone Cores. It would be a relief if the Reinforced Autonomous Defense Type Bone Cores had a high synchronization rate, but it they didn’t, he might go broke before he even attempted to use them.
“Ugh… Damn it, I’ll go for it regardless!”
“See, I told you you’d feel anxious.”
“No, I believe in you. I believe in you who believes in me!”
“You know, I think there’s a final version to that. Something like ‘believe in the you who believes in yourself’.”
“Damn it. I really wanted to say that one…!”
It was too late to back out now. If he failed to restore the core, then he’d have no choice but to leave this place and give up!
With a heart of iron and blood, Lee Shin Woo prepared himself to lose everything and continued with the reinforcement. Because he had used Bone Reinforcement a countless number of times, its speed was at least reliable.
[Bone Reinforcement has failed.]
[Bone Reinforcement has succeed…]
That’s how more than 310 Bone Cores, as well as the Reinforced Bone Cores became scarce. In their place was a single Bone Core that seemed to weakly radiate light, but he might’ve been imagining things.
[Reinforced Autonomous Defense Type Bone Core]
[Synchronization Rate: 99.9%]
“Why the hell did it have to be 0.1%? There aren’t even any golems left!”
“No, it’s fine.”
“Can you use other bone equipment to reinforce it by any chance?”
Jin asked reasonably and Lee Shin Woo firmly shook his head.
“Cores can only be reinforced with other cores. Probably.”
“Get straight to the point.”
“I’m saying that the reinforcement’s already finished.”
Lee Shin Woo propped up the core, which he’d completed by using most of the golems’ cores in the highlands, with both hands. Now, Jin could see it too. The geometrical pattern that covered the Bone Core.
“But I can’t tell what it says at all.”
“Hmm, I’m sure.”
“You’re really pissing me off…”
If Lee Shin Woo hadn’t absorbed a few Bone Cores prior to this, he wouldn’t have been able to make sense of it either.
However, in the process of repeatedly utilizing Bone Reinforcement, he meticulously examined the restored patterns, and analyzed the mutual exchange of mana amongst them; now that the core was finished, he knew. What state the Bone Core was in, and what kind of item this restored core was.
He calmly gripped the core and emitted his mana. The mana saturating his body flowed and wrapped around the core. The core, which emitted a delicate golden light, was soon dyed completely in a reddish mana; now that he thought about it, once he hit level 4, his mana had changed into a dark red light.
[The Bone Original Core has been completed. You require more materials to manufacture golems. You can analyze the core in order to figure out what materials you need.]
A smile naturally formed on Lee Shin Woo’s face. Jin was relayed the message through their contract and spoke with a disbelieving look.
“You can make golems with that?”
“Yeah. Though I’ll need a lot more stuff in the future, that information’s also stored inside the core. Everything regarding the golems is assembled inside the core, so I know where they were originally made, what additional materials I need to make them, as well as what characteristics and types there are.”
“Oh… I really have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“I’m saying that if I just absorb this core, I can learn about the golems here, as well as all the information regarding them. Think it is as their place of origin.”
As expected, it seemed like Jin wasn’t very bright as he was naturally talented in sprinting; therefore, Lee Shin Woo gave up on getting him to understand, and gripped the bone core one more time.
Originally, it was probably a core used to manufacture powerful golems, but to him, it was just an appetizing wonder drug. This was the fruit of high level Magic Engineering that contained the method of controlling golems, as well as the corresponding information on golems neatly organized within!
[By consuming the Bone Original Core, your entire body is reinforced. All stats have increased by 10. Acquiring all the information and memories within.]
At that moment, a tremendous amount of information pushed into his brain, causing him to fall to his knees.
It wasn’t even like this when he acquired the Weapon Trickster’s Arm Bone. It was also different from when he absorbed Gerrit’s bone. He just couldn’t accept the tremendous amount of information that came rushing at him all at once.
‘The way to control a golem. The way to control a golem. The way a golem attacks. The way a golem attacks. The way to gather and release mana. If I just follow this as is, I could become a golem myself…’
Of course, that should be impossible, but just by understanding the fundamental ways by which a high leveled golem moved, Lee Shin Woo’s knowledge of magic and martial arts skyrocketed.
He was able to make it this far with his numerous skills and his genius, but the areas where he’d lacked in refinement were supplemented systematically by his Mana Bone skill, and he’d relied on the combat knowledge he’d gathered as well as Bursting Thunder technique to correct his bearing and stance. And the result of that appeared instantly.
[The Low Rank Mana Bone skill has become Lv9. Magic has increased by 5. You can draw out your mana more effectively.]
[The Low Rank Bursting Thunder skill has become Lv9. Strength and Magic have increased by 3. It seems you’ve gained a vague understanding of how to call down lightning upon your weapon.]
Truthfully, when Lee Shin Woo was abruptly dragged into another world and brought into the Underground Empire just a short while ago, he had caught onto the basics faster than the other heroes. It was only natural, since he absorbed the knowledge and experiences of the undead who’d already possessed these fundamentals.
However, he couldn’t give himself a perfect score. Since most of the enemies he’d fought were low leveled undead. However, that changed when he absorbed the Bone Original Core.
[The Low Rank Stealth skill has become Lv8. Agility has increased by 7. You can now hide your movements more naturally than before.]
[The Intermediate Combat Sense skill has become Lv2. Agility has increased by 5. Your dynamic visual acuity has grown.]
He possessed an exemplary balance that he couldn’t even find in the many individuals in his memories, as well as the know-how of how to handle magic. While it seemed like that’s all that happened, most of his skills had also increased in level. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that he went through an overwhelming growth the moment he got a handle on the basics.
[Using this core to make a mass produced type golem? What a waste.]
However, that wasn’t the end of it. He accepted all the information regarding the golems, and the panting Lee Shin Woo came to the second wave of information. It was a memory detailing the instant the Original Core was born.
[The copies of the core are deteriorating… Hmm, it might be possible with that.]
[Do we really have to go this far? I don’t think we really need to hide our identities.]
It’s impossible for the egoless core to possess memories, but as he raised his level, as well as the level of his Bone Reinforcement, Lee Shin Woo was ultimately able to see the memories of related individuals as well!
[This is all for the Empire.]
[Arema. Arema Steelworker! We have all gathered under your name!]
[We are! The best of the Empire!]
[…Since that’s the duty we’ve been given.]
Several individuals’ fragmented memories brushed past his brain. Lee Shin Woo grit his teeth to remember each and every one of them. The most important word amongst them was obvious.
 T/N: A.S. center is Konglish for after-service center. Basically, a repair shop.
 T/N: Likely the most famous quote in the anime, Gurren Lagann.
 E/N: example: A pole’s poles’ polarity was determined by a couple of polls.